After filling in Idaho Coach Tom Cable on the recent workouts of Jordan Kramer and how fast this young linebacker is, we are ready for the real meat of the story.
"You kind of described something I always thought of him just how explosive and how quick a guy that size is," Coach Cable said after I explained what I saw with my own eyes during OTA's and Mini-Camp.
Kramer is listed at 6-2 and a spry 230 pounds. Since workouts in March, Kramer has gained roughly 10 pounds attempting to bulk up for the rigors of an NFL season.
"You don't expect people to run that fast and change direction that fast and make up so much ground, but he has the ability to do that and I think people at that level do.
"He came here as a running back if I remember right. I wasn't here when he came to Idaho. Then he switched to safety and we moved him from safety to linebacker two years ago and really for what defense football has become. Get as much speed on the football field as you could."
Sounds like Coach Cable has prescribed to the Marty Schottenheimer school of thought. Schottenheimer spent a majority of the offseason talking about team speed and here is Kramer, a guy who is showing he has that speed team's crave, and attempting to make the most of the situation in San Diego.
"It allowed us to get more speed at the safety position and also get faster at linebacker. I think the plays he has made in space probably stick out to me the most. When you look at a situation as it happens or on film on Sunday and don't think that guy is going to make that play and he has the ability to do it."
Did you move him from strong safety based on need or did you think he would be a better fit at LB?
"To me when you have a kid like him that is going to run a 4.5 playing backer and it puts another 4.5 or 4.4 kid at safety and being able to eliminate that 4.7 backer I think it speeds up your entire defense."
The same philosophy is now being applied in San Diego where the speed on defense has been upgraded across the board.
Was he scouted heavily out of high school?
"I think so. He had a number of opportunities to go places out of high school. Fortunately for Idaho his father played here and obviously had a tremendous career with the Green Bay Packers. I think it was always something that he and his brother wanted to do, being Idaho Vandals and why not it is really a great place. He certainly had an impact while he was here."
What role did his father play in his development?
"Obviously he always wanted to please his father and make his father proud. I am sure there is a lot of pressure if you are Jordan Kramer to live up to that legacy that of Jerry Kramer. Not just because of his great years with the Green Bay Packers, because of everything he stands for with Vince Lombardi and his legacy of being a great college football player and a tremendous professional football player. I think that is always that unwritten law there in the family that you have a lot to live up to. I think Jordan handled it extremely well."
Jerry Kramer unsuccessfully lobbied to get an invitation to the combines for his son Jordan.
Did the Packers really want him as is documented by his father?
"I don't think there is any question about that. In fact, I thought when round seven came I saw they had a couple of picks and I really thought that was going to happen and I had spoken to him a couple of times."
"At the end we had eight teams and six made offers," agent Mike McCartney said just after Kramer signed with San Diego. "John (Schneider, a scout for Green Bay) did a great job selling that Green Bay would be a great opportunity. Jordan felt like San Diego would be the best one. He's ecstatic."
Then when he went undrafted it surprised you?
"Very much. A lot of guys I saw in the draft – I think Jordan has a brighter future and bigger upside and that is for everyone at that level to decide. It is like us and recruiting and sometimes it doesn't please everybody, but you think it is right for your team or your organization.
Where did Jordan play in the Idaho defense?
"We are a 4-3 team. Jordan played on the outside both over the tight end and we put him inside and cover him up playing behind the three technique and let him run around and he made a ton of plays. He led the conference in tackles."
The former strong safety moved to weak-side linebacker after his sophomore season and recorded 65 tackles as a junior. As a senior he led the Vandals with 127 tackles, while contributing 14 tackles for a loss, five sacks, 1 interception, 1 pass defensed, 1 forced fumble, and 1 fumble recovery. The next closest Vandal had just 69 tackles.
Kramer was a member of the 2002 All-Sun Belt team after his 127 tackle season.
I imagine being a safety he was pretty good in pass coverage.
"Without question. He gave us the ability to not have to substitute all the time and to block out and cover a slot receiver."
Did you blitz him often?
"Yes, I think he led the team in sacks as well."
Is he better in run support or versus the pass?
"My opinion is he is a pretty balanced football player. The more he got comfortable playing linebacker and learned the nuances of the position, I think he became a better run defender. Certainly going in you knew what he would be able to do as a pass defender. That just continued to get better and better. He is a pretty balanced guy. I think he is going to have a heck of a career."
Where do see him fitting in as a Pro?
"I think he will be dynamite on third down. I think he will be a tremendous special teams player as he was in college and I think eventually as he matures and gets comfortable with the game at that level, I think he can be an every down player."
Speed is something we crave on defense out here in San Diego and Kramer may just be the guy we need to be a demon on special teams and learn the position as Zeke Moreno and Carlos Polk have done for the past couple of seasons.
-Denis Savage (off the strip and collared)
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Idaho Coach Tom Cable on Jordan Kramer
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